Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord; forty days after the Christmas, bringing to its final conclusion in Luke, the story of Jesus’ birth. Why was Jesus presented in the Temple today? It is for two reasons.
First, to fulfill the law of the redemption of the firstborn as required in Exodus 13: 1-2; and, secondly, for the purification of Mary after the childbirth. In the Jewish law of Leviticus 12, there is always the ritual purification of a mother after childbirth. Our Blessed Mother, though a virgin that did not need purification, still did it.
It is this story of the fulfillment of the law in the presentation of Christ in the temple that we read in the Gospel of Luke. Today, the divine Son of God entered into the temple for the first time, fulfilling the prophecy made in Malachi that the Lord you seek will suddenly come to his temple.
Dearest ones, among many other things that may be said about today’s celebration, is how Jesus and his parents fulfilled the law. Today, each of us is challenged to examine our relationship with the laws of the land. How do we fare in our duties as citizens or residents of the U.S state? Like in the Presentation today, each of us is reminded that our vocation as Catholics includes being a good citizen or resident of the United States.
It is important to remember that we cannot be good Catholics if we are not good citizens or residents. Among the things that God will demand an account from us on the last day is how we bore witness to him through our obedience to the good laws of the state. The filing of taxes, for example, is once more here upon us? What are we doing? Are we being honest in our filing? In our individual prayers, do we pray for our leaders including the ones we do not like? Are we driving without a driver’s license? Are we driving while drunk? Are we endangering others by reckless driving? And so forth.
To be good citizens, our lives need always to be filled with God’s presence. Simeon and Anna showed us good examples. They were regular visitors to the temple. Anna, for example, never left the temple. Dearest ones, is our every day lives filled with God’s presence? Do we take out time for God every day? It is important to remember that it is only when our lives are filled with God’s presence that we can transform our society.